Espionage, spies and political turmoil form the essential backdrops of Meghna Gulzar's 'Raazi'. But it takes passion for cinema and a keen observation on the writing to make the film a solid thriller. Raazi succeeds in that aspect, and once again after 'Talvar', Meghna proves yet again that she can make an intimate, personal drama which interweaves around the so-called sensational events.
We hear of a lot of martyrs all our lives- the great men who sacrificed themselves for their countries. But seldom have we heard of many of those people who risked their lives for the triumph of their countries. Based on Harinder Sikka's popular novel 'Calling Sehmat', the film is based on the life of Sehmat Khan, a twenty-two year old Delhi University student and the daughter of Hidaayat Khan, an Indian spy. Hidaayat, after getting his sharp-minded daughter trained, gets her married to a Pakistani Major General cum friend's son.
And the reason behind this is crystal clear: Sehmat is a spy working in Pakistan with other Indians there, delivering each and every information about the enemies' actions to the motherland.
But the film also visually constructs around the emotions of this daughter-in-law, who is a spy. There is this sweet love story of Sehmat and her husband Iqbal, which in the more emotional bits in the end, makes you actually feel for them.
The cinematography, although all dazzle, actually lifts off the screen. Jay I. Patel has dazzled the film to make it ring contemporary. The costumes, designed by Maxima Basu, are never old-fashioned. The acclaimed fashion designer stays far, far away from those 'Om Shanti Om' long suits and 'Action Replayy' long pants with crop tops. The fashion is simple and nuanced, and according to the regular style in 70s.
And the most important triumph of 'Raazi' lies in its simplistic but layered screenplay. The film starts in the seething political turmoil but builds on the emotional strengths quite more effectively. But the film doesn't compromise on the spy-thriller genre too, which is at top of its game.
Alia Bhatt is the most convincing performer in the film, topping the role of Sehmat Khan with grace and sincerity. Jaideep Ahlawat is marvelous as Khalid, the trainer of Sehmat.
The film impresses with its ingenuity. When Sehmat, as the music teacher of a Pakistani army school, teaches a patriotic song to her pupils for the rehearsal of the upcoming Pakistani independence day, she is filled with nationalistic fervor, teaching the students with the of pride and smile as she would have had it been India.
Instead of chest-thumping patriotism, the film, unlike the highly problematic 'Naam Shabana' takes no sides. The film doesn't demonize Pakistan, our enemy, and humanizes the daily life there: how they do their jobs as much as us. It is one of those rare features which take no sides.
So its a 4/5 for Raazi. I recommend the film, because it is the most compelling as well as the best Hindi film till now this year.
A thoroughly enjoyable espionage flick that has the right amount of all the requisite ingredients, Raazi succeeds as that rare Bollywood thriller you never saw coming. Watch it while you hang your thinking capabilities for tomorrow’s work. TN.
good script of real story. expected few stunning scenes.